I would like to introduce you to my daughter, Alyssa. I remember the day she came into my life like it was yesterday. It was one of the most wonderful days of my life. Alyssa was born with Trisomy 21, Down syndrome. The only thing that came to mind was, I studied Special Ed. for a reason. I went through the motions of being sad, but that was it. I was happy because she was the most beautiful, little girl a mom could wish for. Alyssa has an older sister, and two younger brothers. She is very family oriented and loves to get together to celebrate. Her favorite holiday is coming, which is Halloween. She spent time with her older sister baking cookies for her classmates. Alyssa is now 17, and has been very successful throughout her school years. Her personality is so warm, caring, loving, but still has a sense of humor that has gotten her through her school years. She has an awesome family support system but her classmates and friends as well as community members are very much a part of her life. She has volunteered at senior meals and is now volunteering at the Animal Frontier Society. When we are out shopping or eating, everyone we come across says hi to her. I have to ask her who the person or people are. She has attended school dances and other community activities and blends in with the rest of the students. She even walks through the school halls telling the young men to call her or text her. Her communication is great especially when she shrieks, "OMG!!" or "LOL". She is just like you and me and she reminds me of this every day. I do wish I had one trait that Alyssa has, and that is to not let anything bother me and be able to be myself without worrying about what others think!! I am learning though and she has been an excellent teacher in this area. She is a strong advocate for herself and has become quite the independent young lady. Nothing has changed in our household since Alyssa has come into our lives and nothing ever will. We are a family with different abilities and are stronger for it. Alyssa is our sunshine throughout the year and I know that I will never have a cloudy day again!